Kenyan Firm Making Millions from Beads

  • A file image of beads.
    A file image of beads.
    File
  • A simple trip to East Africa for a Kenyan firm founder Caleigh Hernandez, birthed a multi-million company which focuses on producing products made from beads.

    Hernandez got the idea while on a trip where she bought a pair of leather sandals, and immediately loved the bead lining. An idea quickly popped in her mind, and that's how her company was birthed.

    The firm currently has employed over 400 artisans in Kenya with over 95% of them being women. Hernandez, in a past interview, noted that the aim of the company is to break the cycle of poverty by helping people pay themselves. 

    RoHo Sandal Artisans
    RoHo Sandal Artisans
    File

    She noted that unemployment rates are high in Kenya, especially amongst women and other marginalised groups. She stated that the company was keen on assisting ordinary Kenyans who live below the poverty line.

    She further explained that the artisans employed are paid 50% higher than the industry standard.  This she noted would create opportunities for the artisans to support themselves and their families.

    "At RoHo, we aim to bring about meaningful change through beautiful products.

    "I witnessed cyclical poverty because people are stuck in their relative positions while working for nonprofits across East Africa," Hernandez noted.

    The business has also received worldwide recognition and accolades, even scooping various awards for uplifting the lives of the needy.

    The company also sought to cushion more than 75% of the artisans who were hit hard by the effects of the pandemic which had resulted in food shortages.

    The company resorted to making masks and selling to various non-profit organizations in the United States.

    "Now that food is more stable, and Covid-19 seems under control in Kenya, over 1500 artisans don't need our food support, though it was a relief to support them when it was needed," she noted.

    She noted that the venture gives her a sense of belonging, arguing that purpose-driven companies are the future.

    One of the RoHo artisans working on a beaded sandal.
    One of the RoHo artisans working on a beaded sandal.
    File